Career development-programs


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Career development-programs

  1. 1. Has your organization seriously considered Name your career implementing a career development program? development If not, perhaps this is a good time to do so. The following description of several, widely- intervention used career development interventions and case studies can be used to stimulate James J. Kirk discussion on various career development Bridget Downey practices. From these discussions human Steve Duckett and resource professionals can get a preliminary sense of felt career development needs in their Connie Woody organization. They may even get an idea of what interventions might work and what interventions might fail. Career development can be described as a process for achieving specific employee and organization goals, including providing career information to employees, helping employees The authors identify advancement opportunities, James J. Kirk is Professor of Human Resource promoting job satisfaction, and improving Development, Bridget Downey is a Graduate Student, employee productivity (Bernes and Steve Duckett is a University Extension Agent, and Magnusson, 1996). Career development Connie Woody is a Graduate Student, all at Western activities can help employees identify and Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, USA. understand their vocational interests and strengths, plan and implement career goals, Keywords and develop themselves. They help employees Careers, Career development, Employee development answer such questions as; ``Who am I?'', ``How am I seen by my superiors?'', ``What Abstract are my career alternatives and goals?'' and ``How can I achieve my goals?'' The first section of the article provides readers with an Career development can help companies overview of the most widely used career development interventions including alternative career paths, attract the best employees, as well as assessment centers, career coaching/counseling, motivate, develop, and retain the best workers cross-training, flexitime, job enlargement, job enrichment, over time. The benefits of a carefully crafted job rotation, job sharing, phased retirement, sabbaticals, organization career development system can and temporary assignments. Each intervention is described be a better employee-organization fit, a better and accompanied with an example. The second section of employee-job fit, better communications the article presents three case studies: When woodworkers between employees and managers and won't; How do we keep going from here? and Opportunity increased employee loyalty. in scarce resources. Each case is accompanied with a series Because individual employee career of discussion questions and answers. Managers, trainers, development needs differ and organizations and/or consultants can use the article and its case studies vary in the career development resources to facilitate discussions among employees regarding the available to them, organization career potential benefits and drawbacks of various career development interventions. development systems make use of a variety of career development interventions (Schlossberg, 1997). Listed below are some of Electronic access the most widely used interventions (see Table The current issue and full text archive of this journal is I). Each intervention is briefly described and available at potential uses of the interventions are discussed. Finally, three case studies are offered. Readers are asked to identify the Journal of Workplace Learning Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . pp. 205±216 intervention(s) they believe to be the most # MCB University Press . ISSN 1366-5626 appropriate for resolving the case. 205
  2. 2. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 Table I Career development interventions Intervention Description For use with employee group Alternative career paths Examining skills and experience to transfer to a new career Passed over workers, burned out workers, career changers, mid-life employees, plateaued workers Assessment centers Activities or exercises used to identify employee potential Any, but specifically high potential employees, new workers, mid-life employees, possibly plateaued workers Career coaching Helping people prepare to switch careers, or helping them Any, but specifically high potential employees, new workers, get ahead in their current career burned out workers, plateaued workers Career pathing Outlining an individual career plan Any, but specifically high potential employees Cross-training Teaching workers several skills so that they may be Any, but specifically new workers, high potential employees, assigned a variety of tasks or positions semi-skilled workers, technical workers Dual career tracks A career path that allows for success and rewards without Technical workers, creative workers, plateaued workers necessarily being an ``upward'', or managerial, movement Flexitime Allowing employees to vary work schedules to better fit Pre-retirees, re-entering workers, dual career couples, in with personal lives mid-life employees Job enlargement Increasing the number of tasks a worker performs Any, but specifically high potential employees, technical workers, semi-skilled workers Job enrichment Increasing the amount of responsibility and control a Any, but specifically high potential employees, burned out worker has over his or her position workers, technical workers, plateaued workers Job rotation Moving employees from job to job within an organization New workers, high potential employees, transferred workers Job sharing Two employees share one full-time job, including hours, Re-entering workers, dual career couples, mid-life salary and benefits employees, pre-retirees Phased retirement Gradual tapering of work schedules and responsibilities Pre-retirees until full retirement is reached Sabbaticals An extended period of leave Burned out workers, mid-life employees, pre-retirees Temporary assignments Special projects or special assignments Student workers (interns), pre-retirees, high potential employees, temporary workers, intrapreneurs, possibly career changers Career development interventions not lose a valued employee, and Janet does not lose any accrued benefits. Another Alternative career paths instance of creating an alternative career path One approach to alternative career pathing would be a situation where recent graduates involves ``incorporating the skills employees have followed their dream in their studies, but already have with what their hearts want to do''. It can involve changing career and are having difficulty finding a job in their lifestyles for more meaningful and fulfilling specific field. For example, Sandi received a work arrangements (Rhodes, 1995). Creating doctorate in environmental science and public alternative career paths often involves policy, and is using her talents and skills at the incorporating other career development Smithsonian Institution's Division of Birds to interventions, such as flexitime or job prevent aviation mishaps (Jidoun, 1999). enrichment. Workers seeking an alternative career path may find themselves downshifting Assessment center activities or moving sideways (Hudson, 1997). Assessment centers are most often used to Alternative career paths should not be identify workers' career potential, or for use in confused with dual career paths, which is job placement activities, and may be used described later. with either current or prospective employees. For example, Janet finds herself plateaued Assessment centers are most often used in in her current career and experiencing ``burn- conjunction with filling professional or out''. By creating an alternative career path, managerial positions, although they may be Janet transfers current skills into a new career, used with other positions as well. one that in the past was considered only a Generally speaking, assessment centers do dream. Janet, along with her employer, may not constitute an office or physical space in an also decide that job enrichment or flextime organization. In most instances, a participant may be an option, so that the company does in an assessment center is simply asked to 206
  3. 3. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 complete several exercises aimed at you have helped him become a more satisfied measuring higher-level management, employee, as well as retaining him as a valued problem-solving, and decision-making skills. worker for your organization. Several types of exercises may be used, including in-basket tests, leaderless discussion Career pathing groups, and role-play situations. Career pathing, also called career tracking, is For example, Carla is being considered for a process of outlining an individual career a promotion in the accounting department of plan, usually within an organization. Career her company. The promotion would include pathing is most often used as a part of supervising six members of the accounting management training and development, staff. To partially assess Carla's ability as a although individuals may develop their own manager, she and three other candidates for career track, either alone, or in conjunction the position take part in an assessment center. with a career coach. The assessment includes an in-basket exercise Employees follow pre-determined steps on analyzing cash flow, and several role-plays along the career path to develop expertise in designed to evaluate their effectiveness on managing different types of organizational giving feedback, praising, and disciplining situations (Solomon, 1995) and to reach their employees. career goal. Periodic checks evaluate progress, as well as determining what further training or Career coaching/counseling experience is needed to move to the next step. Career coaching frequently involves helping Career pathing often uses several other career individuals prepare for a career change or development interventions as part of the helping employees advance in their existing process. These include cross-training, job jobs (Nelson, 1999). By focusing on training rotation, job enrichment or enlargement, and and developing the skills of their workers, temporary assignments. firms can often build employee loyalty (Belk, For example, Jim accepted a position as a 1999). While the career-coaching role in manager trainee at a well-established printing organizations most often falls to the company immediately after graduation. The immediate supervisor, career coaching and printing company was planning to open a new counseling has also become a career in itself. division, and was also at a point where several From the employee's view, career coaching senior level managers would be retiring within consists of evaluating interests, values, work the next five years. As part of the career styles, and skills. From the organization's pathing program, Jim was to be rotated view, it consists of matching employee talents between various departments in the company's with organizational needs, recruiting and six national locations, spending two months retaining talent in the company, identifying at each location. During this period, Jim training and development needs, and assisting would be involved in the hands-on work of employees in specifying and locating new the company, as well as being involved in employment opportunities within the managerial tasks and decision making. At the organization (Hogan, 1998). end of the first year, if progress was made as For example, suppose you are a department planned, Jim would become one of the area manager, and Joe comes to you inquiring managers of the new division. As other people about other opportunities in the company. in the corporation moved into vacated You know Joe to be a very conscientious and positions, the plan was for Jim to move up intelligent worker, and want to make certain also. he does not look for opportunities elsewhere. Over the next few weeks, you discuss with Joe Cross-training his interests, education and skills, and how Cross-trained workers are taught skills they relate to various positions in your outside their current job assignment so they department and others within the company. can be called upon to perform a variety of You identify a job area in a different tasks as the need arises. Many workers and department which Joe feels better fits his supervisors find themselves cross-training interests and lifestyle, and together you make each other, just to make the day-to-day work a plan for some training Joe can pursue while life manageable. As a career development waiting for a position to come open. While intervention, however, companies put into you are reluctant to lose Joe, you know that place a formal program of cross-training. 207
  4. 4. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 Cross-training helps organizations to recommendations in a wide range of business balance workloads so everyone is busy, and areas, participate in high level decisions, and allows the company to respond quickly to act as mentors to other employees (Tucker employee absences. It also allows employees and Moravec, 1996). The interest in dual or and departments within an organization to multiple career tracks is likely to grow as more gain a better understanding of the ``big organizations do away with formal picture'', and to improve communications management titles and establish team and relations. Employees who are cross- structures (Capland, 1997). trained are more valuable to the company, For example, take a look at Kevin, who has and more marketable in the work world been working as an architect with the same overall (Terrel, 1997). large firm for the past eight years. There are To illustrate this intervention, consider the few ``upward'' possibilities, unless you are in accounting department where Carla was one of the administrative areas, such as recently promoted to manager. The accounting, or unless you become a partner. department handles a large volume of work, When Kevin began work, he was primarily an and each of the six employees in the assistant applying finishing technical department is assigned to a different function. specifications to projects (e.g. checking These functions are: daily data entry of blueprints). Gradually, he was able to let payable invoices; daily customer billing; more of his creative talent show, and was posting customer payments; posting vendor assigned as member of design teams and payments and printing checks; and two became responsible for increasingly larger people who perform reviews and internal phases of various projects. Over the last two audits of the various journals and ledgers in years, Kevin has been project director on two the department. Carla implements a different accounts, which involves initial cross-training plan within the department. design concept, more contact with the client Because slow or non-performance in the first and builder, and more control over the four functions could create serious backlogs various phases of projects. Along with this and cash flow problems if not kept up, Carla additional responsibility comes more begins cross-training across these functions, recognition and respect in the firm, as well as and later includes the reviewing and auditing more money. functions. Flexitime Dual career tracks Flextime is one of the most popular and most Dual career tracks should not be confused widely known career development with alternative career paths. Creating dual interventions. Flexitime gives employees the career paths involves preparing employees to opportunity to balance their work and succeed and be rewarded without necessarily personal lives by restructuring the typical being on a management or vertical workday to accommodate individual organization career path. In other words, employee schedules (Arellano, 1999). ``up'' is not considered the only way Arellano also reports (1999) that employers employees can grow and advance within the who offer flexitime often report decreased use company (Schlossberg, 1997). The of paid leave, decreased tardiness and establishment of dual or multiple career increased productivity. Other benefits for the tracks has proven to be an effective way to employer include a low-cost method of retain and motivate valued employees providing personal time off and extending (Joinson, 1997). service hours without overtime pay (Brown, Management can be an attractive career 1998). This career development intervention alternative for many employees, but it is not is popular with employees who have extended for everyone. This may be particularly true for families or young children, who may be facing many technical or creative workers. The ``burn-out'', and those seeking further number of people managed often education or pursuing second careers. distinguishes managerial levels, but under the Flexitime allows employees to set their own dual career track plan, individuals apply their schedules, within limitations set by expertise (like managers) to tasks of greater management. For example, workers may complexity and impact within their specialty adjust their starting and ending times, but are field. For example, they may make required to be at the office during 208
  5. 5. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 management specified core or peak hours. company, or more marketable in the job Working four ten-hour days is an example of a search. compressed workweek form of flexitime. Flexitime may also be combined with other Job enrichment interventions, such as job sharing, job Job enrichment involves increasing a worker's rotation, and phased retirement. responsibility and control over his or her For example, Suzanne recently returned to work, and is also called ``vertical job loading'' school to complete her Master's degree. She (Parker, 1998). Job enrichment allows you to had full support and encouragement from her expand your responsibilities or change your employer, who agreed on the flexitime role to develop new competencies without schedule Suzanne proposed. Because the leaving your current position or the location of the school required an hour organization altogether (Managing Office commute, Suzanne needed to leave work at Technology, 1996). 3.00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday to Job enrichment is also used as an effective attend a 4.00 p.m. class. To complete the motivational technique: According to this perspective, if a job provides a 40-hour week, she arranged to start work one sense of responsibility, a sense of significance hour early on Tuesday and Thursday and to and information concerning performance, the work one hour later on Monday and employees will be internally motivated to high Wednesday. levels of performance. The key to creating this situation is to enrich jobs so they provide five core characteristics: task variety, task Job enlargement significance, task identity, autonomy and Job enlargement is defined as increasing the feedback (Whittington, 1998). number of tasks a worker performs, with all of the tasks at the same level of responsibility, Again consider Janet, our plateaued employee and is also sometimes referred to as who is exploring alternative career paths. To ``horizontal job loading'' (Parker, 1998). Be try to retain Janet and her expertise, her careful not to confuse job enlargement with manager begins by allowing her to monitor job enrichment, which follows. certain duties the department is assigned, and One such instance involves Lucy, a data asks her to participate in a focus group developed to advise management on entry person in the accounts payable improved communications between department, who learns quickly and departments. Later, Janet is asked to become completes the majority of her tasks early. She an advisor, or short-term mentor, to new often seemed bored, and even mentioned to employees in the department. Janet seems to her supervisor that she wished she had a little be more satisfied now, and is proud of her more variety in the job. After reviewing her ``senior'' status. work, to be sure it was accurate as well as fast, her supervisor assigned Lucy to help with the Job rotation customer billing, a function that had much Job rotation is the systematic movement of more volume and seemed to always be employees from job to job within an behind. The intervention helped Lucy gain organization, as a way to achieve many more skills and make better use of her time. different human resources objectives ± for The department benefited also when the simply staffing jobs, for orienting new customer billing was sent out in a timely employees, for preventing job boredom, and, manner, reducing overtime and improving finally, for training employees and enhancing cash flow. their career development (Cheraskin and Job enlargement and job enrichment can Campion, 1996). Job rotation is often used by both be used with plateaued workers or employers who place employees on a certain workers who are experiencing burnout, and career path or track, usually for a with especially high achievers. These two management position, where they are interventions may be used in conjunction with expected to perform a variety of duties, and each other, or with other career development have a variety of skills and competencies. interventions such as job rotation and Job rotation is often confused with cross- temporary assignments. Both interventions training. While both interventions perform provide the employee with increased skills, essentially the same service of providing making him or her more valuable to the employees with a varied set of skills, job 209
  6. 6. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 rotation goes beyond this. Besides being used assistants, and both have been considering as a means of management training, job working only part time to allow them more rotation can also be used as a form of job time to spend with their growing families. enrichment, by adding increased However, both are concerned that being part responsibilities, increasing challenge, and time would only lessen the respect they have reducing boredom or burnout. earned for their positions, as well as having For example, when Jim, the new printing work pile up during the times they are off. division manager, was completing the job Their supervisor is especially concerned with rotation part of his training, he realized how this last aspect as well. As a solution, with the much more interesting this made coming to approval of their manager, the two develop a work each day. Even though he may be job-sharing arrangement. Kim will work assigned a duty that he did not like at the Mondays, Tuesdays, and five hours on moment, he knew that next week he would be Wednesdays. Tina will work five hours on rotating to a different task. Jim also realized Wednesday and all day on Thursdays and that this rotation could be used as a valuable Fridays. They spend the overlapping hour on training and staff coverage tool. One of his Wednesday communicating status of projects first big projects was setting up a regular job and duties. They will each receive half the pay rotation system within each department at the and half the benefits of the position, and both new division. For example, in the pre-press retain their title as senior administrative area, staff members rotated weekly between assistant. The company views them as one the functions of design and layout, creating staff member. negatives, creating masters, and plate making. Boredom and absenteeism decreased, and Phased retirement jobs were covered when there was an absence. Organizations typically devote far more energy to recruiting and retraining than to Job sharing phasing out workers (Schlossberg, 1997). With job sharing, a full-time job is split Phased retirement is one intervention that between two employees. The two employees workers and employers can use at the latter share the duties and responsibilities, as well as end of the career cycle. During phased the salary and benefits of the job. These two retirement, workers gradually taper their work employees must also work closely together, schedules until they reach full retirement. and with management, to co-ordinate hours, Other career development interventions such duties, and communication among as flextime and job sharing are typically themselves and other departments in the incorporated into phased retirement organization. Most often, job sharing is used arrangements. Retirees may work part time by parents or adults caring for their parents, and serve as mentors or trainers to their and affords employees a better balance successors. Benefits to employees include a between their work and personal lives. greater sense of control over the transition Employees pursuing further education or a from work to retirement, lowering the risk of second career may also use job sharing. economic insecurity, and more social support Job sharing offers advantages over part-time (Worklife Report, 1997). The employer work in that employees are able to maintain benefits by retaining valued talent and their professional status as well as some of minimizing labor shortages (Duff, 1999). their job benefits. One example of the For example, consider Bob, who at age 64 advantage over flexitime situations is that with is beginning to look forward to retirement. flexitime, parents may still require extended However, he also is concerned with ``letting day care hours (Brown, 1998). Benefits to the go'', and afraid he might be bored when he employer include having ``two heads instead retires. And, after 17 years as part of the of one'', retaining valued and experienced senior management team, Bob will leave a employees, and down time due to vacation or huge void in the company operations. Bob's sickness is reduced, because the job share company has a phased retirement plan, and partners cover for each other. works with him to set up his new schedule. For example, Tina and Kim have both Bob will be involved in selecting his successor, recently returned from maternity leave. This and will work as coach and mentor full-time is Tina's second child, and Kim's third. Both for a while. After three months, he will scale Tina and Kim are upper level administrative back to three days per week, then eventually 210
  7. 7. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 to two days, and so on until he does not come assignment usually involves a single goal or into the office at all. For another six months, target, or special set of circumstances. The Bob agrees to be available as a consultant and work project usually revolves around one advisor on an as needed basis. The entire certain aspect of the business, and has a finite phased retirement plan takes place over a two- term, or a definable beginning and end. The year period. current trend, at least in private industry, is to move toward project teams as the preferred Sabbaticals management operating structure (Kanouse, A sabbatical is an extended leave from work. 1999). It can be paid or unpaid, and may or may not Returning again to Janet, the plateaued include a guarantee of position upon return, employee, her manager has another solution depending upon the sponsoring for increasing Janet's job satisfaction. Janet organization. Sabbaticals allow people time knows this department inside and out, and for revitalization, and give the remaining has expertise and knowledge in other areas of employees an opportunity for new challenges the company as well. Because of her and growth (Semas, 1997). Sabbaticals are enthusiastic participation on the company's often viewed as a benefit, rather than a career communication focus group, her manager development intervention. Employees and recommends her for a position on the employers both need to realize the temporary task force created to implement the opportunities for both personal and career focus group suggestions. Janet feels not only growth and development. They are often valued, but also that she is making a used as a retaining tool for valued employees, significant contribution to her career and the and as a way to relieve job burnout, and can future of the company. even be used as a ``trial period'' for pre- retirees. Summary Sabbaticals also promote teamwork because As organizations continue on into the new employees must back each other up during century, more companies are realizing the times of extended absences. As for customers, advantages of retaining highly trained and comfort levels rise. They know that more than experienced employees. Many have already one person can help them. Professionals also realized that the cost of recruiting and training realize humility in the recognition that the a new employee can far outweigh the costs of work world will and can function without some career development interventions. That them, which in itself can lift many an alone could be reason to implement a imagined burden (Howell, 1999). comprehensive career development program. For example, Sam's company allows an Overall employee satisfaction, dedication, and employee a 12-week paid sabbatical after each loyalty to the company are added benefits. As ten years of employment. The first and last a final note, employees should remember that two weeks may be spent as the employee they can lobby for some of these wishes. During the middle eight weeks of the interventions, and if their organization is sabbatical, the employee is required to unwilling, some interventions, such as volunteer at least 20 hours per week with an exploring alternative career paths, career approved charity organization. pathing and possibly a sabbatical, can be pursued by the employee on his or her own Temporary assignments initiative. Temporary assignments are also known as project work. Working at temporary assignments or on special projects can help Case studies employees avoid burnout and can keep plateaued or high achieving employees Case 1. When woodworkers won't motivated, giving them the chance to learn The Needmore Woodworking Shop is located more and enhance their skills and experience. in the scenic mountains of Needmore, WV. It Many times, temporary assignments (i.e. employs local woodcrafters to produce finely- project work) can be used by pre-retirees as a crafted art objects. The designs are unique part of their phased retirement plans. and their products are selling well at craft Project assignments are different from job shows across the country. The new Internet rotation in that the temporary/project site has also boosted business, which is now 211
  8. 8. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 the best it has ever been in Needmore's ten- workers in the area. It is well-known that to year history. keep your job at Needmore Woodworking, Needmore is in Hardy County, West the weekend party has to stop in time to get a Virginia, an impoverished area of the country good night's sleep Sunday night. From the with a median family income of $20,745 and limited workforce in the area, Wright has a population of just over 10,000. While most managed to assemble the best possible staff. people tend to live in Hardy County because Yet, he cannot seem to impress upon them they are born there, a few people have the need to be at work when big deadlines immigrated to Hardy County from the approach. Most staff members average only Washington DC area, drawn by the four days a week on the job. spectacular beauty and simple lifestyle of the area. Less than 20 per cent of people over the Discussion questions age of 25 have any education beyond high (1) Which CD intervention could Wright use to school, with 45 per cent not having a high motivate his existing staff so that they will be more school diploma. The skilled labor pool is dedicated to showing up for work, and how? limited. Most of the woodworking shop's staff Flexitime would be an excellent solution to was trained on the job to perform the Wright's problems. This could take the form necessary job functions. of varied start and end work times or A position at Needmore Woodworking is compressed workweeks. This would allow considered an extremely good job in the area. employees time to take care of personal Salaries, benefits, and working conditions business, while Wright still has staff available compare favorably with those at other local to meet the deadlines. businesses. As an added plus, the commute is manageable, a short distance on US Highway (2) Is Wright expecting too much from his staff? 55, which is passable in all but the worst Why, or why not? weather conditions. An unusual aspect of the No, he is not expecting too much from his business is that the shop's owner, Wright staff. All employees should be made aware of Masters, holds a more enlightened the importance of reliability when hired. They management view than most area employers. should also be made to realize that missed He believes in knowing his employees and deadlines eventually lead to missed their needs and goals, providing continuous paychecks. training on new equipment and designs, and recognizing the strengths and (3) Should Wright look for other staff, perhaps accomplishments of his staff. importing them from the Washington DC area? Despite his nurturing qualities, Wright Why, or why not? often finds himself frustrated by the staff's No. If he imports staff, he runs the risk of lack of dedication to the business. It seems driving up his labor cost, and alienating the that, among the Needmore Woodworking community he has worked so hard to become staff, it's ``always something''. Either Billy, the a part of. At the very least, bringing in staff cut man, has to take his wife (who doesn't from outside the area should be a last resort. drive) to the clinic to see about her back (4) What other CD interventions could be used to problems or Bobby, the sander, has to spend reorganize or redesign the jobs to improve the three days rebuilding the transmission on his reliability of the staff? pickup and cannot get to work. Even Betty, Cross-training and job sharing would also be the bookkeeper, is frequently out because her good solutions. Cross-training would allow grandma needs help on her ``bad'' days. While the work to be done in case of an absence, and it is true that one of the reasons people love job sharing would allow all positions to be the area is its relaxed culture, there are covered, while employing more of the deadlines to be met. When a shipment of available work force, a positive image builder. jewelry boxes needs to be in Maryland by the next weekend for the annual Sugarloaf Craft (5) Is this problem unique to remote, Festival, no money is made if it arrives after impoverished areas, or is it more widespread? the show. Unfortunately, it is more widespread and not On the job, Wright's staff is a hard-working, unique to remote and rural areas. Employers conscientious group. He has selected them can reduce the negative impact of these because they are among the most reliable problems by being more flexible in their 212
  9. 9. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 scheduling, and allowing the use of modern the manufacturing or distributor side, in both CD interventions. sales and customer service. The role of general operations management Case 2. How do we keep going from here? fell to Constance. This role included support Industrial Forms & Labels, Inc. (IFL) is a staff supervision, software system small, independently-owned distributor of administration and training, managing custom produced business forms, labels, and customer promotions and events, occasionally related products such as barcoding supplies assisting the owner's wife with various and ribbons. The owner and president, Dave bookkeeping duties, as well as implementing Olivetti, began the business in 1971 with his the human resource functions in the growing wife, after spending eight years as a sales company. person with a regional, direct selling printer of Until three years ago, the company did not similar items. IFL is now WNC's oldest and have much success with the full-time sales largest independent distributor of business representatives hired. Most were impatient forms, labels and related products. with the amount of time required to develop Independent distributors in this industry long-standing accounts in the industry, and serve as middlemen and liaisons between end- expected quick sales and commissions. The users of products and the manufacturers of latest salesperson was hired in 1996. Matthew those items. Unlike the large, nationally Guttridge was a ``right-sized'', high-level owned direct-selling companies, the purchasing manager from one of IFL's largest independent distributor has a choice of which customers. Matthew brought 25 years of company manufactures the products they sell. business expertise and contacts to IFL, and Service to the customer soon became the was not just interested in making a fast dollar. Because of the rapid growth of the company, major selling point of IFL. but lack of full-time salespeople, the As Dave Olivetti developed his relationship maintenance of many ``house'' accounts fell to and influence with contacts and resources on the only other long-term employee available ± the manufacturing end, his reputation for a Constance Woodbury. Needless to say, high level of service to customers naturally Constance now has a job that has been ``over- grew. It soon became known that IFL could enlarged''. get an order priced, produced and delivered Dave Olivetti realizes what is about to in less time than those larger national happen, so an additional inside sales support companies took to just prepare the job quote. person is hired. This person also has As the company grew, as well as Dave's considerable experience in the industry from a family, Anita Jolsen was hired as an office- customer service position at a manufacturing administrative assistant in 1981. Her duties plant. A full time bookkeeper that also has included not only administrative tasks, such experience in HR functions is also hired. as customer billing, but also internal customer These two employees take away much of the service. She soon became more of an inside overload from Constance. She is now left with salesperson, and these customer contacts the more manageable duties of maintaining often left the administrative duties behind. A ``house'' accounts, customer promotions, new staff member was hired, Constance including the company newsletter, and Woodbury, who continued the dual job computer network maintenance and training. descriptions of administrative assistant and The problem now remains in the sales customer service, while Anita became the department. Anita and Matthew have brought company's first full-time outside sales many new and large accounts to the company, representative, other than the owner. making the need for the additional people As the company continued to grow, several mentioned earlier not only necessary, but outside salespeople and inside customer possible. However, both Anita and Matthew service people were hired. The majority of the are over 60 years old. Both are looking current staff has been hired since 1993, and towards retirement in the next five years. Both now includes four inside sales support salespeople currently find it very hard to ``let persons, an administrative assistant, and a go'' of some of the responsibility involving warehouse/shipping and receiving person. All ``their babies''. Dave, at age 55, has already but one of the inside sales support persons begun a semi-retirement, remaining as have backgrounds in this industry, either from support and advisor only, and focusing on 213
  10. 10. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 financial management of the company. He (4) Why do you think Anita and Matthew are has no children who are of age or interested in finding it hard to let go of some of their duties and taking on any part of the business. Constance responsibilities? has made it known to Dave that she is not This is not just a money question. These are interested in a full-time sales position, and in accounts that each person has spent years fact is pursuing further education in another developing, and they have even forged some field. personal friendships along with the professional ones. There will naturally be Discussion questions some emotional ties. This, plus the normal (1) What career development/career management transition from full-time work to retirement, intervention would be most helpful to this is never an easy one, and requires much company? support on the part of co-workers. Phased retirement would allow the retiring (5) What is the best way to make Anita and sales people to gradually turn over accounts, Matthew feel more comfortable with this process? train new or existing personnel on the . If they want to retire, this is a much better particulars of those accounts, and also way than simply cutting ties with only a allow customers the comfort of a gradual month's notice. change. . Even if their successors are not chosen (2) What is the best way to implement phased from the current customer service people, retirement in this situation? Should the these people will likely still be there to implementation be different for Anita than for support the accounts. They are as familiar Matthew? with the technical details and ``nuts and It should be determined first who will be bolts'' of the accounts as the salespeople, taking the place of the salespeople, whether and will be the customers' tie to the they come from existing inside sales support retiring salesperson and the company. personnel, or from outside hiring. Given the . They will be involved in turning over company's history with sales personnel, and ``their babies'', and can watch and supervise and mentor the new the experience of existing customer service relationship. personnel, the new people will most likely . Anita and Matthew need to be assured come from inside. An agreed upon time-line that their contribution to the company between Dave Olivetti and each salesperson will not be forgotten. should be set. Once implemented, the . No one says the personal relationships phased retirement should cover no less than have to end, just because the professional one year. It should begin with smaller one does. accounts, and gradually grow into the larger accounts. (6) What about Dave? After coming to terms Anita and Matthew may decide on different with the sales department dilemma, where should time-lines, and this will be the main factor, his next focus be? along with the size and number of accounts Dave's next focus should be on another form each person has to deal with, in determining of succession planning. He needs to come to the difference between each phased terms with what is going to happen in ten to retirement plan. 15 years when he is ready to completely retire. A few of his options are: one of his children (3) What are some of the steps that need to be may have a change of interest and decide to taken to ensure that the phased retirement plan is join the family business; he can search successful? elsewhere in the family for a successor; he can In advance, all parties involved should be look at the option of selling the company; or included in any planning sessions. This he can plan on making some of the employees would include Anita or Matthew, Dave partners and have a management team in Olivetti, and the successor. All compensation place and ready to go when he retires. plans must be agreed to up front. Any questions regarding the addition of new Case 3. Opportunity in scarce resources customer service people should be addressed Tom Harris is an agriculture agent with the if the successors come from inside the North Carolina Cooperative Extension company. Service in Adams County. He has been with 214
  11. 11. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 the organization for three years and his areas county. Owing to the small size and of responsibility include livestock, row crops, population of Cobb County, the county pesticides, and community resource commissioners are reluctant to fund a full- development (CRD). He is a hard worker and time agriculture position there. Eric is the really loves the agricultural side of his job, but only person on his staff with agriculture he is not as enthusiastic about the community training, and he is constantly pressed for time, resource development aspect of the job. since he must do the agriculture programming Tom is excellent in designing and working in addition to the administrative tasks for his with agriculture programs, but he has to be county. The amount of work to be prodded by his supervisor to do the accomplished is too great for one position, community resource development work. This but the commissioners do not feel that there is work involves meetings, seminars, and enough agriculture industry in the county to working with volunteers to help solve local fund another full-time position, and Eric community problems, and requires a great cannot get approval to hire a part-time agent. deal of diplomacy and networking. Tom feels This situation is causing public relations that this part of his job involves too much problems for Eric, since the local farmers do baby-sitting of the volunteers, and that the not feel that they are getting enough response groups he works with seldom accomplish to their needs, while Eric is also constantly more than talking about problems and behind in completing the administrative work planting a few shrubs to beautify the accomplished because he is attempting to community. Tom does not see how this work keep his farm clientele happy. Eric wonders if has any benefit for the community, and he the state's new program of hiring cross-county only does the absolutely essential work in this agents could help him. He is planning to bring part of his job. One of Tom's favorite lines is up his problem at the next western district ``this would be a great job if only I could get county directors' meeting. rid of the CRD responsibility''. Jennifer is the Adams County extension Discussion questions director, which makes her Tom's immediate (1) Which CD intervention will successfully supervisor. She came to her current position resolve this case and why? from the community development area of A form of job enlargement could work in this extension. Jennifer is very pleased with Tom's case. Jennifer and Eric could share Tom's work in general, but she is beginning to be position for the agriculture work, and Jennifer concerned with his lack of enthusiasm for could split the CRD responsibility between community development work. Some of the the other agents, or Jennifer could take it on volunteers she worked with in the past have herself, which she has shown interest in. mentioned to her that they have a hard time tracking Tom down when they need help, and (2) Is there another CD intervention, or any type his indifference to the program is beginning to intervention, that can solve the issues in this case? cause discontent among that clientele. Mentoring or coaching might also be useful in Jennifer has spoken with Tom on several this situation. If Tom could be given a model occasions about the importance of to follow, he might realize the value of his community development work, but her CRD responsibilities. comments seem to fall on deaf ears. Jennifer (3) Should Tom be fired in this situation? does not want to lose Tom as an employee, No, such a drastic step is not warranted. Tom since the agriculture clients really like his should be utilized in the area of agriculture for work, but she cannot allow the current both counties, which will solve two problem situation to continue. She has thought of situations, and make a more satisfied taking back the CRD work herself, since it employee. helps build rapport with community leaders, which she needs as a director, but the county (4) What role should networking play in this commissioners are not willing to fund Tom's case? position as a solely agricultural job. Jennifer and Eric should utilize networking in Eric Nelson is a county extension director their director's meetings to explore a common in Cobb County, which borders Adams solution to both their problems. Talking with County. He is currently having difficulty in each other and their peers in the bi-monthly accomplishing the agriculture work in his director's meetings could help them come to a 215
  12. 12. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 viable solution, or gain new insight into their Howell, J. (1999), ``O sweet sabbatical'', Wenatchee problems from other directors that may Business Journal, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. b8-b9. previously have encountered the same type of Hudson, F. (1997), ``Career plateau transitions in midlife, situation. and how to manage them'', Career Transitions in Turbulent Times, ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling (5) Will upper management involvement be and Student Services, Greensboro, NC, pp. 257-66. needed to solve this case? If yes, what should that Online at involvement be? Jidoun, G. (1999), ``Feather figure'', Working Woman, Yes, upper management will need to be October, p. 16. involved. Their role will be supporting the Joinson, C. (1997), ``Multiple career paths help retain innovative solutions that Jennifer and Eric talent'', HR Magazine, Vol. 42 No. 10, pp. 59-64. Kanouse, D. (1999), ``Make temporary assignments work'', may come up with. They may also be needed Federal Times, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 16-20. to help present the case to the county Managing Office Technology (1996), ``Sideways bound: commissioners, who usually want to deal with success doesn't always flow up'', Vol. 41 No. 11, top people in an organization, and whose pp. 25-30. approval is needed for the budgeting process. Nelson, F. (1999), ``Career coaches busy as more switch jobs'', Denver Business Journal, Vol. 50 No. 49, pp. 15-16. References Parker, S.K. (1998), ``Enhancing role breadth self-efficacy: the roles of job enrichment and other organizational Arellano, K. (1999), ``Work vs. family'', Denver Business interventions'', Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal, Vol. 50 No. 46, pp. 19a-20a. Vol. 83 No. 6, pp. 835-52. Belk, J. (1999), ``Employment firms moving to provide Rhodes, A. (1995), ``Follow your heart'', American Fitness, clients one-stop shop'', San Antonio Business Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 48-52. Journal, Vol. 13 No. 12, pp. 17-18. Schlossberg, N. (1997), ``A model of worklife transitions'', Bernes, K. and Magnusson, K. (1996), ``A description of Career Transitions in Turbulent Times, ERIC career development services within Canadian Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services, organizations'', Journal of Counseling & Development, Vol. 76 No. 6, pp. 569-75. Greensboro, NC, pp. 93-104. Available online at Brown, B. (1998), ``Part-time work and other flexible options'', ERIC Digest No. 192, ERIC Clearinghouse Semas, J. (1997), ``Taking off from the hi-tech grind'', on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, HR Magazine, Vol. 42 No. 9, pp. 122-8. Columbus, OH. Solomon, C. (1995), ``Navigating your search for global Capland, W. (1997), ``Plight of high-tech execs: should I be talent'', Personnel Journal, Vol. 74 No. 5, pp. 94-9. a manager?'', Boston Business Journal, Vol. 17 Terrel, P. (1997), ``Employee cross-raining initiatives'', No. 24, pp. 9-10. <> Cheraskin, L. and Campion, M. (1996), ``Study clarifies Tucker, R. and Moravec, M. (1996), ``Dual career path plan job-rotation benefits'', Personnel Journal, Vol. 75 rapidly gaining favor'', Washington Business No. 11, pp. 31-6. Journal, Vol. 14 No. 47, pp. 26-7. Duff, S. (1999), ``Poll: more plan sponsors tapping phased Whittington, J. (1998), ``The same motivational style retirement approach'', Employee Benefit News, Vol. 13 No. 8, pp. 50-1. cannot be used for all employees'', Business Press, Hogan, J. (1998), ``Helping employees to grow key to a Vol. 10 No. 50, pp. 27-8. company's vitality'', Kansas City Business Journal, Worklife Report (1997), ``Health risks of retirement'', Vol. 16 No. 52, pp. 25-6. Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 2-3. 216